eSports audience size worldwide from 2012 to 2020, by type of viewers (in millions)

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Frequent viewers/enthusiastsOccasional viewers

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This statistic shows the global eSports audience size from 2012 to 2020, broken down by type of viewers. In 2016, the number of frequent eSports viewers and enthusiasts amounted to 162 million. This number is projected to reach 286 million in 2020.
eSports audience – additional information

eSports can be described as organized multiplayer video gaming events, mostly between professional players. These events often take the form of a series of tournaments or competitions which culminate in championships, both at a regional and a global level. One of the most popular games featured in eSports competitions - and also the one with the highest number of registered players in 2015 - is League of Legends. In fact, the League of Legends Worlds Championship in 2015 was recorded as having the highest number of viewers of any eSports tournament so far, with 36 million people tuning in to watch.

All in all, it is expected that in 2018 eSports enthusiasts around the world will have watched 6.6 billion hours of eSports video content. One of the most popular online platforms, Twitch, provides access to video gaming content of all sorts, including eSports tournaments broadcasts such as the League of Legends Championships. Its visitor numbers have been rapidly growing since the platform was introduced to the market in 2011 as a subsidiary of Amazon. Twitch had 20 million monthly unique visitors in 2012 and in 2015 that number was said to grow to 220 million. In late 2016 it was measured that the majority of global Twitch users were male, with women accounting for 35 percent. At the same time, Twitch user age group distribution indicated that the majority of the platform users were between the ages of 16 and 24.

Studies conducted in 2016 in the United States attempted to categorize eSports fans in the country. The gender distribution showed that the majority of those interested in professional video gaming were men, while 19 percent were women. Overall, approximately 23 percent of eSports viewers were between the ages of 25 and 34, with the largest group falling within the 18-24 age bracket. Those results are consistent with the general gaming population, where Millennials are also the majority. The studies also found that a large proportion of eSports viewers were white or Caucasian, with the remaining ethnic groups accounting for 35 percent of the total.

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Release date
February 2017
Survey time period
2012 to 2016
Supplementary notes
* Forecast.
The figures for 2012 and 2014 as well as 2018 and 2019 come from earlier releases.

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